Contemplation in a Connected World
A few years ago, I spent a week and a half on vacation for the winter holidays. I left my computer at home, having made the decision to disconnect and enjoy my time away. I felt nagging urge to check my email. There were withdrawal symptoms. After a few days, I found myself much more relaxed.
The Rev. Hugh Page, Jr. writes a blog for first-year students at Notre Dame. He recently taught a class about contemplation and the first year experience, in which he introduced the idea of building time into ones day for contemplative activities.
From his post, at http://fys.nd.edu/Deans_Blog.html:
I also assigned some rather interesting praxis oriented assignments such as:
- A Technology “fast” – turning off cell phones, computers, and other devices and taking a ninety minute meditative walk
- Contemplative sketching and photography exercises
- Walking the Prayer Labyrinth at St. Mary’s College
- Using poetry and the writing of aphorisms as a means of recording general impressions about personal growth and life
- Wandering the “stacks” of the Hesburgh Library
- Using the techniques of artistic composition to “frame” intellectual interests and objectives
- Identifying contemplative role models
Since my vacation experiment, I’ve wondered how I could introduce this into my daily life. I want to use it as a way to recharge. I want to reduce the guilt I feel when I leave my cell phone at home and am entirely disconnected. Most of all, I want to remind myself how important my life is outside of work and the Internet.
Have you integrated such activities into your life? What do you do?